Application of the Frontier Myth

Application of the Frontier Myth

The account where he said that it was the gold strikes in the popular press which had supported the significant expansion of the mining frontier and provoked mining stampedes during the period of 1860s and 1870s. In American history one can find two ‘Wests’ – one is considered to be the real West in which farmers, ranchers, miners and prostitutes, criminals, etc pursued their happiness and the second one is called the legendary West that took deep root in the imagination of American people. If one looks at the Western novels or cowboy novels, one would find that the west had been portrayed as a barren landscape but at the same time as a romanticized idealistic way of living. (Nichols, 1-20. Boyer, et.al, 533-536) Going by the traditional definition, we may trace the concept of frontier changing overtime where it is no longer a distinct demarcation but the differences get overlapped and the literal meaning of ‘frontier’ becomes faded.The frontier hypothesis is considered to be the most controversial concept used in interpreting American history. Frederick Jackson Turner advanced this hypothesis in the year of 1893 – “Turners central contention was that "the existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward explain American development." (Reuben) This concept was introduced as one of the means of explaining the unique features of the civilization of America. This hypothesis, which stated frontier as “the meeting point between savagery and civilization" (Reuben) was warmly welcomed during that period and enthusiastically applied until the 1930s. During the 1930s, this hypothesis had to face a lot of criticism by a group of younger scholars. However, more recently a number of historians have extended their huge support to the thesis Turner. The historians have stated the thesis in somewhat modified form, and then it is again being considered to be an essential tool for an understand­ing of the past.

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